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Caledonia senior Mason Klotz returns to football after battling medical condition

Klotz playing for first time since eighth grade
Posted at 2:03 PM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 16:42:22-04

CALEDONIA, Mich. — Caledonia senior Mason Klotz says it has been a dream of his to suit up for the varsity football team but since eighth grade, he has been unable to play the sport at all.

In sixth grade, Klotz was diagnosed with vasovagal syncope, a condition that made him faint randomly due to growing too fast.

Mason Klotz finally able to take the field as a senior

As time went on, the condition worsened. In fact, during wrestling practice in eighth grade, Klotz passed out and was unresponsive for over an hour. He was rushed by ambulance to DeVos Children's Hospital and woke up in the emergency room.

And it looked as if that eighth grade season was the last time Klotz would play sports at Caledonia.

"I was determined to play football again," Klotz said, "I always told myself when I was little kid, that I was going to play varsity football under the lights."

When Caledonia head football coach, Tom Burrill saw Klotz back in middle school, he was excited for his future.

"We saw him as an eighth grader, he was a really good football player, a big kid, a linebacker and we had really big expectations for him," said Burrill.

But unfortunately, due to his episodes, Klotz opted to not play.

"I basically grew too fast," Klotz explained about his condition, "I couldn't get enough blood flow to my head because my heart couldn't pump enough blood."

Losing consciousness in front of friends and classmates was taking an emotional toll on Klotz, who struggled with anxiety and depression because of it. The fainting also had a major impact on his education.

"When I'd pass out, I'd have memory loss," said Klotz, "that would also effect me with school and I'd have to do online because I couldn't be in school, I'd have episodes there too."

But Klotz set a major goal in 2020, to suit up and play varsity football for his senior year. To do so, he lost over 40 pounds, which helped lessen the condition and he has been cleared to take the field this fall.

"I don't even know if I can put it into words," he said about being on the field, "it has made me stronger and made me a better person."
And now, for the first time in almost four years, he's suiting up with his best friends on the Caledonia sidelines.

"He's a likable kid," Burrill smiled, "he works hard, he's overcome a lot. It just inspires somebody else that maybe can't do something, that when you work really hard, maybe it can be possible."

The hard work over the past several months has paid off as Klotz now turns his sights to making an impact on Friday nights for the Fighting Scots.

"It means the world, just to be back with everybody, side-by-side with them is amazing."